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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: January 16, 2023

In this edition:

Niagara homebuilders nominated for national awards

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has announced the finalists for the 2023 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence, Canada’s premiere competition for new homes, home renovations, community development, and residential marketing.

Nearly 800 entries were submitted from across the country into 48 different categories designed to encompass the variety of homes built and renovated in Canada, at various sizes and price points, from single-family homes to mid/high-rises for both rental and ownership, and including specialty categories for Net Zero Homes and entry-level homes. This year, almost 150 industry experts reviewed entries, judging submissions by images, floor/site plans, and project descriptions.

Niagara’s nominees are:

  • DeSantis Homes: Best Brochure/Kit, Best Virtual Tour Experience and Best New Community awards for their “Century Condos” project
  • Mountainview Building Group: Best Bathroom and Best Bedroom/Suite for “The Beaches penthouse”
  • Lucchetta Homes: Best Detached Production Home Under 1,800 square feet for “The Newburg at Riverside at Hunters Pointe”

The awards will be presented on February 16th in Banff, Alberta during CHBA’s Home Building Week in Canada.

Click here to read more.

Ontario announces plan to reduce wait times with community surgery and diagnostic centres

The Ontario government has announced its new measures to further leverage community surgical and diagnostic centres to eliminate surgical backlogs and reduce wait times. As the government significantly expands the number of surgeries being done through community surgical and diagnostic centres, it will do so with measures in place to protect the stability of health human resources at public hospitals, including requiring new facilities to provide detailed staffing plans as part of their application and requiring a number of physicians at these centres to have active privileges at their local hospital.

There are currently 206,000 people estimated to be waiting for surgical procedures. For reference, last fall, there were approximately 209,000 patients waiting for a hospital operating room-based surgical procedure in Ontario, and about 200,000 before the pandemic. Further information on surgical wait times is available here.

Community surgical and diagnostic centres licensed under the Independent Health Facilities Act already perform approximately 26,000 OHIP-insured surgeries and procedures annually.

Click here to read more.

Construction declined in November, Ontario led gains in non-residential building

Investment in building construction declined 1.4% to $20.4 billion in November, with most of the drop coming from Alberta (-5.6%). The residential sector decreased 2.0% to $14.9 billion, while the non-residential sector edged up 0.2% to $5.5 billion.

Investment in non-residential construction was up 0.2% to $5.5 billion in November. Ontario (+1.3%) accounted for most of the growth as they led the gains in each component.

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Ontario motor vehicle industry posts 14% growth

Following three consecutive monthly decreases, national sales in the motor vehicle industry rose 12.7% to $3.9 billion in November, as production in several assembly plants in Canada ramped up, which in turn led to higher capacity utilization rates amid supply constraints. In Ontario, sales in the motor vehicle industry increased 14.0% to $3.7 billion in November, following three consecutive monthly declines.

Overall, manufacturing sales were flat at $72.3 billion in November, as higher sales of durable goods (+1.8%), led by motor vehicles (+12.7%) and fabricated metal products (+2.7%), were offset by lower sales of non-durable goods (-1.7%), led by the chemical (-4.4%) and petroleum and coal product (-2.1%) industries.

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Canadian home sales edge up to end 2022

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales were up on a month-over-month basis in December 2022. Home sales recorded over Canadian MLS® Systems edged up by 1.3% between November and December 2022. Gains were led by Ottawa and Edmonton.

The number of newly listed homes dropped 6.4% on a month-over-month basis in December, led by declines in British Columbia and Quebec. It was among the lowest December new supply levels on record.

With new listings down by quite a bit more than sales on a month-over-month basis, the sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 54.4% compared to 50.2% posted in November. The long-term average for this measure is 55.1%.

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Bank of Canada: business optimism weakens as consumers tighten belts

Results from the Bank of Canada’s fourth-quarter 2022 Business Outlook Survey and the Business Leaders’ Pulse surveys from October 2022 through January 2023 show that business sentiment has continued to weaken. As a result of rising interest rates, firms’ sales expectations and investment plans are softening. Capacity pressures have moderated from elevated levels. In this context, firms expect a slower pace of price increases.

In response to high inflation and rising interest rates, consumers have reduced their purchases of a broad range of goods and services, the Bank’s fourth-quarter 2022 Canadian Survey of Consumer Expectations revealed. High food prices are a particular source of frustration for households.

Access to credit has worsened, and real wages have continued to decline. As a result, a growing share of Canadians plan to further cut or postpone purchases in the coming months.

Most consumers expect a mild to moderate recession in Canada within the next 12 months.

Click here to read more.

Applications open for St. Catharines airport and library board appointments

Individuals looking to lend their knowledge to the Niagara District Airport Commission, or the St. Catharines Public Library Board (SCPL), are encouraged to apply for positions.

The City is looking for three individuals who will represent the municipality on the airport commission, and seven citizens for the SCPL. Those successfully appointed will serve a four-year term.

The Niagara District Airport Commission manages the Niagara District Airport on behalf of the City of St. Catharines, the City of Niagara Falls and the Town of Niagara-on-the- Lake. The commission establishes the airport’s strategic direction and operating policies, develops and oversees annual operating budgets, and appoints the CEO. Visit their website to learn more at

The St. Catharines Public Library Board manages and governs the operations of the St. Catharines Public Library, and establishes policies related to the provision and development of public library services to the citizens of St. Catharines. Visit their website to learn more at

Click here to read more.

Focus on Small Business

Home (vs.) office: is it really a return to business as usual?

Stay-at-home orders across the country pushed businesses to realize that many of their employees could easily work from home. With over a quarter of Canadian employees doing just that at the start of 2021, a shift in company protocol helped with the changes. Online video conferences, shared online drives, cloud storage and emails quickly replaced face-to-face talks and in-person meetings.

As far as productivity goes, 90 per cent of employees reported completing at least as much work per hour at home as in the workplace, according to Stat Canada’s Labour Force Surveys. With most COVID-19 restrictions lifted or lifting, there’s a call for a return to “normalcy” from many companies and employers. But not everyone agrees with that call, especially after nearly three years of work-from-home scenarios that yielded the same, if not better, results. Seeing how much effort has been put into the home office in recent years, is it really time to erase all progress, or is there another solution?

Click here to read more.

Through the Daily Updates, the GNCC aims to deliver important business news in a timely manner. We disseminate all news and information we feel will be important to businesses. Inclusion in the Daily Update is not an endorsement by the GNCC.

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